The day after Thanksgiving, I typically avoid Black Friday shopping while still shifting my attention toward Christmas. Often I use this day to create my first decoration or holiday craft for the season. Today I was open to seeing what inspired me. Inspiration did indeed find me, in a completely unexpected and delightful way.
Greg has been going through boxes and boxes of items, brought from his parents’ house in Arkansas after his father passed away. It has been a huge task that is nearing completion. This morning he showed me booklets his brother Ray created while in elementary school that contained examples of his work.
Ray, who was creative and artistic, revealed his love of drawing and painting at an early age. The booklets had pages of math papers and spelling words and science illustrations…and pencil sketches Ray drew in 3rd grade. We smiled over his drawings and water color paintings.
And then one piece of art, that had come loose from its fragile page, caught my eye and sparked my imagination. Ray had carefully written his name across the back of a paper snowman that he had created. The year was 1958, making him 10 years old.
I love snowmen, adding to my collection each year, and suddenly I knew what to do with this charming artwork from 58 years ago. I did brave the crowds today to pick up a simple black frame, liquid tape and Christmas scrapbooking paper at Michael’s.
Back home, I quickly assembled the items to create a simple and beautiful Christmas decoration. I love the way the red, green and white plaid paper and black frame highlight Ray’s snowman. This artwork will have a special place of honor in my home and in my heart.
Greg’s older brother passed away in 2002, after a short battle with cancer, and just three years after their mother died. Ray was five years older than Greg, and while the brothers were fond of each other, the years between them and their different interests kept them from ever being close. Ray’s death ultimately took away any chance of forging a stronger bond.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to display his cheerful snowman. I’ll think of Ray every time I see it. Thankfully, this artistic and soulful man continued to explore and develop his creative talents, creating pottery and watercolor paintings in a flurry of activity before his death.
I am grateful for the way inspiration flows into my life, generating ideas. It creates a kinship with Ray, that goes far beyond being his sister-in-law. It creates a connection between us that allows us to share an appreciation for art and creativity and being authentic.
I wish I could talk to Ray one more time, and let him know I understand him better now than I ever did during his life. And I love his heart and eye for beauty and color and form. And…this little snowman from his childhood means so much to me.
Perhaps he knows.